Claudio Ranieri admitted ‘he wanted to kill’ Aboubakar Kamara after the French forward refused to give Aleksandar Mitrovic the ball and missed a crucial penalty in Fulham’s 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town this afternoon.
Kamara stood firm despite the attempts by several of his team-mates to take the ball off him and hand the late penalty to the Serbian striker, who was Fulham’s nominated penalty taker. Huddersfield goalkeeper Jonas Lossl saved Kamara’s tame penalty and the situation was only rescued by Mitrovic, who scored a stoppage winner.
A furious Ranieri told BBC Sport after the final whistle:
He did not respect me, the club, team-mates and crowd. I spoke with him, it is not right. I said to Aboubakar Kamara to leave the ball to Aleksandar Mitrovic, he is the man who shoots the penalties. It is unbelievable what he did.
I wanted to kill him. That is normal when one man takes a ball, only because he scored the last penalty (against Manchester United). It should be Mitrovic, that is it.
Mitrovic had a more diplomatic assessment of the situation afterwards:
We had a small argument and I think it is my job for penalties. He did not think like this but I respect that. I have done the same in the past. I don’t have a problem with this, he missed and that is part of football. He changed the game when he came on in the second half.
Last time I said I am so unhappy I want to cry, today I want to say I am so happy I want to cry. It is a big three points, we kept another clean sheet and that is a big improvement for us. Today was a six-point game against rivals at the bottom and it was a very important game. It gives us confidence before facing Arsenal. We need to carry on winning games and taking points.
Ranieri admitted the manner of the victory, arriving in the first minute of stoppage time, was almost fantastical.
It was unbelievable. If we had to dream this match, it is important to score in the last minute and that is what we did. It was very important for the victory and the effort.